In This Issue: I Want My Smartphone; A Boy and His Bike; Movie Popcorn Gets Greasy
Do You Multitask?
The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released Generation M2, a survey to determine how much time kids 8-18 spend with their smartphones, computers, TVs and other electronic devices. Turns out, kids spend more than seven and a half hours a day on entertainment media; and those who multitask pack an average of nearly 11 hours of media content into that same seven. The results surprised researchers, who thought that numbers from a similar 2004 study couldn't possibly increase.
Tell your child that kids 8-18 spend more than seven and a half hours a day using smartphones, computers and other electronic devices.
Together, write down a general schedule for a teenager in high school. (6:30 a.m. Wake up. 7:30 a.m. Arrive at school. 2:00 p.m. Home from school. 2:30 p.m. - 10 p.m. Play online games, send text messages to friends, etc)
ASK: What do you notice about this schedule? How do you think he or she gets homework or chores done?
Discuss multitasking. ASK: How many things do you think you could do at once? Then tell him or her how many things that you think you can do at once.
TEST both of your predictions, first with silly examples: try to sing "Happy Birthday To You" while tying your shoes and reading a paragraph in a book or magazine.
Challenge your child to listen to an iPod while writing a letter to a friend. Keep track of the time it takes both of you to do different tasks while sending a text message, etc.
ASK: Did you find it difficult to concentrate on two things at once? Do you think you pay more attention or do a better job without distractions? Do you think it's possible that some people do better when working on more than one thing?
Bike-Riding to the Rescue
When Charlie Simpson saw the destruction in Haiti, he hopped on his bike and set out to help the nation's children. The 7-year-old from London, England, decided to do a fundraising bike ride at a park near his home. Charlie and his mom set up a web page that urged people to sponsor his ride; the response has been overwhelming. He has raised nearly $330,000 for UNICEF's Haiti Earthquake Children's Appeal.
Activity Ideas - Language Arts Synonyms
Share Charlie's story with your child.
Write down separate lists of one or two words that you would use to describe Charlie.
Compare notes. Tell your child that synonyms are words that have the same or similar meanings. ASK: Are any of our words synonyms? What about his actions or behavior made you think of these words?
A movie and popcorn used to seem like the perfect combination, but a recent report may make filmgoers everywhere say, "Hold the bucket of grease." The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) sent popcorn samples from three national theaters to a lab for analysis. The amount of saturated fat, sodium and calories alarmed researchers.
Share some calorie comparisons from the report with your child:
A small Regal bucket has 670 calories and 34 grams of saturated fat. That's about as many calories as a Pizza Hut personal pan pepperoni pizza—except the popcorn has three times the saturated fat.
At AMC theaters, a large popcorn has 1,030 calories and 57 grams of saturated fat. That's like eating a pound of baby back ribs topped with a scoop of Haagen-Dazs ice cream, with a side of an additional day's worth of saturated fat.
Every tablespoon of buttery oil topping adds another 130 calories. Asking for a topping is like asking for oil on French Fries.
At Regal, a medium and a large popcorn each has 1,200 calories and three days' worth of saturated fat.
Activity Ideas - Math Add it Up
Help your child write the calorie, sodium and fat amounts listed above on a piece of paper.
Find content comparisons in your kitchen cabinets: Have your child choose some of his or her favorite foods—macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, ice cream, etc.
Look at the packages to find the amount of calories, sodium and saturated fat per serving.
Help your child calculate how many boxes or servings of each food you would have to eat to equal each bucket of popcorn.